Getting your hands in the dirt is one of the great pleasures of gardening (am I right?), and we gardeners understand first-hand the importance of soil. Now you can help spread the word about this critical natural resource by celebrating the International Year of the Soil. The global campaign is built around six key messages that highlight how we all depend on soils:
1. Healthy soils are the basis for healthy food production.
2. Soils provide us with plants we use for feed, fiber, fuel, and medicine.
3. Soils support our planet’s biodiversity, hosting a quarter of the total species.
4. Soils help combat climate change by playing a key role in the carbon cycle.
5. Soils store and filter water, improving our resilience to floods and droughts.
6. Soil is a non-renewable resource and its preservation is essential for a sustainable future.
That last one really gave me pause. A non-renewable resource is defined as one whose “loss and degradation is not recoverable within a human lifespan,” and today 33% of the world’s soil is considered “moderately to highly degraded due to erosion, salinization, compaction, acidification, and chemical pollution.”
To learn more, visit the Soil Science Society of America’s activities page at https://www.soils.org/IYS where you’ll find “I Heart Soil” stickers in a dozen languages including Klingon, recipes for “soil desserts,” educational packets for teachers, and monthly themes such as “Soils are Living.” It’s already given me a whole new appreciation for soil’s importance – and its vulnerability. Save the Soils!